It’s official that time of year again. As Black Friday continues to grow in popularity, the potential for criminals to target unsuspecting shoppers in our area increases as well.

The Reno Police Department wants the community to have a safe holiday season and to provide citizens who will be braving shopping areas in Northern Nevada with some safety tips to better protect themselves.

Dress for success for yourself and your kids
With cold and wet weather in the forecast for the weekend, shoppers should dress themselves and their children casually, comfortably, and in layers.

Map it out
Have a plan for the day and where you are going to shop. This will help to alleviate any potential stressors encountered throughout your shopping day.

Be patient
Expect long delays in stores, parking lots, and on the streets around major shopping areas in Reno and Sparks.

Consider buying a prepaid card
If you want to limit your budget or control your spending, purchasing a prepaid credit card will not only help you stay on budget, but also limit the amount of money criminals can take from you if you are victimized.

Don’t provide unnecessary information
The more information that a store collects from you, the more likely that you will become a victim of identity theft. If you’re paying with cash, they don’t need any identification. If you’re paying with a card, those companies already have your information on file.

Conceal your purchases
Thieves are always looking for easy targets of opportunity, and a vehicle full of shopping bags and presents gives criminals an easy score. Lock your items in your trunk, under your seats, or cover them with a dark blanket. Criminals watch for shoppers who load up their vehicles with gifts and return back to the mall.

Protect yourself
Women should carry their purses close to their bodies and men should keep their wallets in their front pockets or in a coat pocket.

Park and be safe
Anticipate minimal parking availability. Avoid carrying a large amount of cash. When returning to your car with gifts and bags, stop, look and listen for suspicious activity, and let authorities know immediately if you see anyone or anything suspicious.

Obey the laws
Drive the speed limit, stop at stop signs, don’t try and beat red lights, don’t park in handicap parking spots, and be mindful of the increased pedestrian traffic especially small children who may get away from their parents.

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